How to find lost savings and bank accounts

Fact Checked

Billions of pounds are sitting dormant in bank accounts. Follow these steps to locate your lost accounts and reclaim your missing money.

Share this guide
Reclaiming lost assets
The My Lost Account service is free to use.

How can I find my lost savings and bank accounts?

If you think you’ve lost track of a savings or bank account, the good news is that there is a free service called My Lost Account designed to help you find your money. Launched and run by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association (BSA), and NS&I (National Savings and Investments), My Lost Account covers more than 30 banks, all 42 UK building societies and National Savings & Investments products, including premium bonds. 

To use it, you simply set up a profile and fill out a form. You’ll need to enter your name, date of birth, current and previous addresses, and which bank or building society you think the missing accounts were with.

The financial institutions you name should get back to you within 90 days. NS&I tends to be faster, usually responding within 30 days. You might get these responses through your My Lost Account profile or straight from the bank or building society. If they locate an account, you'll need to confirm your identity, usually by going to a branch. 

How does My Lost Account work?

The My Lost Account service is free to use. If you see a service that tries to charge you for finding an account, avoid it. At best, you will be spending money you don’t need to, and at worst, it could be a scam.

It’s worth noting that this service only works for accounts marked as lost or dormant. If you know the provider the account was with, you should speak to them directly first when trying to trace your money. Accounts become dormant for several reasons, including if your bank receives returned mail, if you don’t update your address, or if there’s been no activity for a set time – for instance, 3-5 years for savings products. After this time, your account will be marked dormant. So, if My Lost Account doesn’t work initially, it’s worth trying again in a few years.

If you can’t remember the name of the account provider, you could try Gretel, a free service launched in 2022. Gretel performs a soft search on your credit file to match you up with old addresses and search for missing accounts.

Maximise the value of your savings by hunting down the best rates available

What happens to the money in old accounts?

Sometimes, the money in a dormant savings account is simply left there. It will earn interest at whatever rate the bank has set. Some banks will move it to a central holding account to prevent fraud, but it should still earn interest at the rate the bank promised. Typically, this will be significantly less than you would receive in an up-to-date market-leading account. So, once you find your money, you should move it somewhere where it will earn more interest. 

If an account has been untouched for 15 years or more, the government’s Dormant Assets scheme can transfer the balance to a Reclaim Fund, which helps pay for environmental and community projects. This scheme also covers some assets from pensions, investments and insurance products. All major high street banks and building societies have signed up to the scheme. 

Before transferring money to the scheme, your bank has to try to get in touch with you. However, if they can’t contact you – for instance, because you’ve moved house and changed phone number – the cash could be moved to the Reclaim Fund. However, you can still retrieve your money. The Reclaim Fund claims it always retains enough money to meet customer claims.

How can I trace lost investment accounts?

If you think you’ve lost track of your investments, the first port of call should be the Investment Association. It has an Unclaimed Assets Portal (powered by Gretel) that tracks bank accounts, investments, and forgotten shares. In the past few months alone, it has reunited customers with £150,000 worth of investments. 

How can I locate missing pensions?

If you’ve lost a workplace pension scheme, you should contact your old place of work to ask about it. If the company has closed or isn’t helpful, you can try the Pension Tracing Service, a free government scheme that will help you find the correct contact details. Once you know which provider to speak to, get in touch to track down your old scheme. 

Get more advice on tracking down your pension

How can I find lost premium bonds?

You should be able to find missing premium bonds through the My Lost Account service. However, you can also use NS&I’s Tracing Request Form. This can also help you look for other NS&I products you may have lost track of, such as savings accounts and ISAs.

How to find and reclaim lost assets when someone dies

If you know the account name, you should contact the provider directly and notify them that the account holder has passed away. This should be relatively straightforward. If you think there are lost or dormant accounts, you can use the processes outlined above to find them. You'll need to clarify that the account doesn't belong to you. The executor or administrator of the deceased person's estate will then distribute any funds discovered in due course.

See the top-paying instant access, notice and fixed rate savings accounts on the market today

About Sara Benwell

View Sara Benwell's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.